Heritage Of Naicker Palace
All the palaces in Tamilnadu, it is usual to build a temple dedicated to Rajarajeshwari. Even today there is one such temple at Ramalingavilasam, Ramanathapuram Palace of Sethupatis and having daily poojas. At Thanjavur Maratta Palace also, Rajarajeshwari temple was built, but it was ruined. At Madurai Palace, the building at the north-east of Natakasala might have been the temple. The shrine was richly carved with stone work and its dome and finial were covered with gold. The King used to offer worship to Goddess Rajarajeshwari daily in the morning. This temple situated to the south-west of Rangavilasam facing east with a Court in the front. In front of the shrine also was a ountainand a garden with domed buildings. To the west of Natakasala were an armoury, a pond, a wrestlor's pavilion, a pavilion for cock fights and servants quarters. All these structures were disappeared due to natural calamitie
In the north side of the present structure we may see in a lane a row of ten tall stone pillars. Actually this portion was also a part of the big palace. To the west of these pillars stood a place similar to the celestial pavilion but some what smaller. This was named as Rangavilasa, in which Muthialu Naick, the brother of Thirumalai Naick lived with is family. To the west of this portion were a harem and a platform called Chandrikai Medai. An entrance was provided in north with an opening leads to the present south masi street. Palace security guards were stationed here to check the visitors and there was a room to store their weapons.
On the eastern side of the ten pillars lane was the main entrance and a pavilion where royal palanquins and other para phernalia were placed. There was an another pavilion housing 18 kinds of musical instruments that used to form part of the royal entourage. These pavilions existed in a dilapidated form, till a hundred years ago and were called Naubatkhana. The Naubatkhana was so dilapidated during the last century that the American Mission declined to take it as a gift. It was then restored by Mr.George Fisher in 1858 for the use of the new Zilla School. Naubatkhana was used for sometime as the police head-quarter office. Now a middle school of Sourastra Community is functioning in this building.
The construction of the palace was completed in 1636A.D. But alas, during 1659 it was suffered to damage by the then ruler and the grand son of the great builder Thirumalai Naick. His grandson Chockanatha Naick, in order to carry the materials to trichy to establish a new palace pulled down some of the portions like Rangavilasam. The throne, costly jewells and other valuable treasures were taken to trichy. But there too the materials were not utilised and no palace was constructed there. Due to passage of time and neglect a number of other parts of the palace disappeared. In the lastc entury, a part of the building to the west of the celestial pavilion collapsed in a torrential rain. Then most of the palace portions were encroched by the people and converted into their residences.